California

Amid criticism, CSU tweaks presidential salary comparisons

Erica Perez, California Watch — Jan 18 2012 - 4:57pm

Responding to criticism from the Legislative Analyst’s Office and others, California State University officials have revised a proposed list of peer universities they plan to use to help set pay for campus executives. The new list, provided to California Watch, no longer considers Temple University in Pennsylvania a peer of San Diego State University because Temple has a medical school – a feature that tends to drive up the cost and complexity of university operations. Temple paid its president $536,000 in base pay in 2009-10.

PG&E proposes charging customers to opt out of Smart Meter program

Alison Hawkes, Way Out West News — Mar 25 2011 - 4:13pm
PG&E has proposed charging residential customers to opt out of having wireless transmission of electric meters turned off at their homes. The proposal announced Thursday would allow the utility to recoup the expenses it says are associated with running an opt-out program by charging participating customers. The utility has come up with a rate program with one-time charges of either $135 or $270, plus either monthly fixed charges or a surcharge on hourly rates for gas and electric.

Proposal to ban shark fins in California heats up

Jerold Chinn and T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Feb 14 2011 - 6:54pm

Assemblymen Paul Fong (D-Cupertino) and Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) have proposed legislation to ban all sales and distribution of shark fins in the state. Both assemblymen say the shark population has decreased dramatically due to the popular rise of a Chinese delicacy of shark fin soup served at many Chinese restaurants in the Bay Area.
Opponents of the legislation like State Sen. Leland Yee says this is an attack on the Chinese culture and heritage.

Former women prisoners face longer odds staying out after aid programs slashed

Mineko Brand, SF Public Press — Dec 24 2010 - 5:36pm

Rehabilitation taking backseat to punishment

By the time Sunshine Schmidt was 19, her rebellious streak led her to prison in Wisconsin for violating probation on a forgery charge. But it was just the beginning of her troubled young adulthood. As she tells it, the uncaring reaction from a criminal justice system on autopilot put her back in prison for minor violations, only driving her further into the life of small-time crime as she racked up drug and theft-related charges. “Every time, I was released back into homelessness or an abusive partner,” she said. “I didn’t have the resources or tools to get back on my feet.” It was only three years ago, after leaving a California prison at age 27, that Schmidt was able to pursue legitimate jobs and an education. After living in transitional housing, she became a client of Way-Pass, a City College of San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that helps female ex-prison inmates adjust to everyday life.

Judge and media navigate claims of gay bias

Kristine Magnuson, SF Public Press — Dec 4 2010 - 11:17am

Same-sex marriage appeal puts spotlight on personal lives of those judging — and reporting on — the issue

Same-sex marriage opponents complained that U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker — who this summer overturned Proposition 8, a 2008 state constitutional amendment banning the practice — should have recused himself because he is gay (a suggestion Walker has declined to discuss). Walker’s sexual orientation will be front and center in arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday. This puts journalists, too, in a funny position. Who will believe a gay reporter covering the question about whether a gay judge should be disqualified?

Regents push risk

Peter Byrne, Spot Us — Nov 10 2010 - 2:00pm

Investigation shows some officials profited while UC investments performed poorly

Last fall, amid an unprecedented state budget crisis, the University of California Board of Regents took extraordinary measures to cut costs and generate revenue. Lecturers were furloughed, classes eliminated. The regents — the governing body for the vast public university system — also reduced admission slots for in-state students while increasing the cost for out-of-state students. And to the consternation of tens of thousands of students, the regents raised undergraduate tuition by a whopping 32 percent, with more hikes to come.

State Department courts tech entrepreneurs to aid in development, diplomacy

Rosemary Macaulay, SF Public Press — Oct 19 2010 - 5:51pm

The Bay Area's innovators and social entrepreneurs have been invited by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to contribute their ideas for furthering diplomacy and development using new technology. Clinton said the State Department is embracing technological advances pioneered in the Bay Area to aid communication across the globe.

Some funds restored, temperature lowered at UC protests

Rosemary Macaulay, SF Public Press — Oct 13 2010 - 5:40pm

Students, staff and faculty protested across nine UC campuses last week in defense of public education after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the 2010-2011 state budget, which partially restores the deep budget cuts made to higher education last year. Though less fired up than they had been during the previous year’s demonstrations, the protesters at Berkeley remained far from satisfied.

Minority voters think greener, statewide poll shows

Rosemary Macaulay, SF Public Press — Aug 6 2010 - 1:10pm

A poll of California's voters released last week has revealed disparities between the environmental attitudes of ethnic groups. Asian, black and Latino voters are more concerned about air pollution, more sensitive to the effects of global warming, and more willing to see the government act on environmental issues than white voters. But in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, all ethnic groups reject more oil drilling off the coast of California.

University of California invests $53 million in two diploma mills owned by a regent

Peter Byrne, Jul 14 2010 - 6:48pm

A year ago, Richard C. Blum, then the chairman of the Regents of the University of California, spoke at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference 2009, held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The corporate confab was hosted by Michael Milken, the “junk bond king” who went to prison in the aftermath of the savings and loan fiasco in the 1980s. Milken, who is barred from securities trading for life by federal regulators, has since recreated himself as a proponent of investing in for-profit educational corporations, an industry which regularly comes under government and media scrutiny in response to allegations of fraud made by dissatisfied students.

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